The ending is heartbreaking, but it doesn’t overshadow the journey

Sacramento, California– I don’t want to paint too broad a brush here. I think there are a lot of Mizzou fans out there who, even in the aftermath of a 78-63 loss you didn’t think was meant to happen, can appreciate the bigger picture. Perspective is very rare for sports fans, especially online, but there are some who do and I want to make sure the next couple of paragraphs don’t offend those who do.

I think there are people who want this column to be something that it won’t be. Some want some fire, some rage and some screaming. How could this happen? Where were the hard questions? How can you never use embarrassing or unjustified words?

Because it was not. It was just a sport. I’m not embarrassed about it. It doesn’t have to be. Missouri lost a game to a team that was better than most of the season and a team that was probably better than most nights. But she wasn’t tonight. And so while Princeton goes to Louisville and plays in the game nearly all of us thought Missouri would play, the Tigers come home.

You know who had perspective in the immediate aftermath of the loss? Dennis Gates. And his players.

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Were they upset? certainly. Harm? Absolutely. But asked in the wake of a loss that ended their season and meant that this particular team would never play another game what they wanted to remember, a group of guys much younger than me and probably most of the people reading this were able to strike the right chord.

“Laying the foundation, building that culture back in Columbia, and re-engaging those fans,” Old Tree Jomillion He said. “Just doing the things we did. We never should have been here in the first place. We never should have made it to the SEC Semifinals. I mean, at the end of the day we lost today, but we have a lot to be proud of. So I’ll say that.” “.

Of course it was Jomillion who said just that. He did not play in the final weekend of his college career. He was in tears before the win over Utah State on Thursday — Missouri’s first in the NCAA Tournament in 13 years and yes, sure, that should be mentioned again — because his groin injury just wouldn’t let him go. So he sat on the bench, cheered, coached, and did everything he could do to please his Sweet 16 teammates.

“I just want to be remembered as a group of guys who loved each other on and off the field,” he said. Ben Sternberg He said. “We’ve been together every day in the crib, in the gym obviously. Not only that, but we want to be known as, like, the coach’s starting point. Coach, it’s obviously his freshman year. We want him to create the culture here. Now the next teams are going to follow us.” “.

Sternberg started with Gates as Cleveland State’s manager. Then march on Cleveland State. A Mizzou celebrity who is more famous for his vlogs than for his work on the floor including the final seconds on Saturday. Gates wanted him – and Gomillion De Moy Hodge And Mabor Majak—in Missouri because he wanted a living, breathing example of the culture he was trying to instill in Missouri. mission accomplished.

“Going to Mizzou wasn’t a hard decision for me to make, especially playing for the coach at Cleveland State,” said Hodge. “Just building the foundation of what we know it can be and what its goals are has been really good. The Mizzou fans who support us and trust us to come here and do what we do means a lot to the Colombian community. I thank them for embracing me and my team.”

Hodge was a good player in the Horizon League. And then he was a good player in the Southeastern Conference and was the leading scorer for Mizu in Thursday’s win over Utah State.

No more than 30 minutes after the final game of their college career – because none of these three or DeAndre Goulston They could go back – they were able to appreciate the journey they took. And the ride they all took us on.

Some may think this is the easy way out. Why don’t I focus more on the fact that Missouri lost to a No. 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament? Where is the anger and frustration because the tigers had such a sweet look there to take and couldn’t catch?

This is one story for Saturday. No doubt. If you’ve delivered a Princeton coach Mitch Henderson A piece of paper before the game and I asked him to write his script, it couldn’t be much different from what happened. He ravaged Princeton Missouri on the boards, bullied them into the paint on both ends and when they convinced Gates he needed to go on a zone defense to stop the bleeding from the inside Ryan Longborg And Blake Peters It bombed away to a 9-of-20 note from three-point range and kept Missouri at bay for the full 40 minutes. Princeton isn’t a better team than Missouri every day. But it was better today.

“We managed to get the lead once,” Gates said. “Every time we got the lead or when they were leading, we cut it to six, they would step back and do what a good team would do: shoot or play. It wasn’t our day to make those plays or make the same shots.

“They were the better team today.”

Yes, that’s one story. This is the story for today. He’s not the person I want to tell. It’s not the story of this team.

“I have always valued my comrades since the beginning of our conversations and our journey,” Gates said. “They’ve done a tremendous job. They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. They’ve done more, right?”

“What they’ve managed to do together is 20 years from now we’ll look back, 10 years from now we’ll look back, five years from now we’ll look back and see how important what they’ve done is.”

Some may not believe that tonight is the night of such appreciation? But why not? If they can put it right after the match, shouldn’t we be able to do the same? They put more into it than we have. It probably hurts them more than it hurts any of us.

embarrassed? inexcusable? Nah. never.

It was a bad end to an incredible trip. Just like Utah was two days ago and it will be another 65 finish. If the ending wasn’t so painful, the journey wouldn’t be worth it. So it’s good that it hurts now. But she can’t erase what happened along the way.

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